Reflections on Books and Promotion

I believe passionately that everyone should write a book or an account of their life. It is their legacy, and is important to their family and loved ones. Everyone has a story to tell! In this digital age, it is possible to write and to self-publish through any of the print-on-demand services. The process is not terribly expensive, and you can spend as much or as little as you like on publicity.

I am in the throes of promoting the fourth update of my memoir, and I am gratified by the response. It is called "You Wake Me Each Morning -- the Final Chapter." I am now 71, and began to take notes and write the book when I was 21. It is a good thing, because I have a terrible memory! We all suffer from the fog of time.

The first edition was published by Harper-Collins New Zealand, where it was a best seller called Voice From America. It was a thrill to be flown down there twice, and be taken around the country to speak and sign books. But it was too difficult to sell the books in other parts of the world.

With digital down load, anyone can order the book and it is printed and shipped to them within days. Or an electronic copy can be ordered instantly. I can't figure out how royalties are handled -- I get minuscule amounts each year, and am careful to pay federal and state taxes. But most of us do NOT write books to make money -- you have to be extremely powerful and famous for that!

There is, of course, fierce competition to sell books and ask friends to take time to read them. I try to add humor and inspiration whenever I can. Most of my friends in the news and political world have written books, and most are more intellectual than mine. Everyone has their own style.

For promotion, word of mouth is best, if you can generate momentum. I also prefer to host a press party at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. My most recent one was on May 21, and it was a great success. Friends from the White House Correspondents Association said nice things about this old lady! Neighbors sang French songs from their group "French Coast Café." Two other neighbors -- Anne O'Neil and Carol Knowles, sang a parody about me. Anne wrote the lyrics. The Press Club put out a spread of terrific food and drinks, and we all had a great time. Here is a link to a YouTube video to some of it

If you have a book party, obviously chose a location close to you. Keep after your local media to talk about you -- they need content, too. Use social media as much as you can. (I am bad at this!) Most of all, believe in yourself and your product! If you open up to other people and convince them you are genuinely interested in them, they will open up to you.

So, keep writing, talking and having fun!